Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trip to Snohomish, 7/20/14

For those living in Seattle, the Metro Employees' Historical Vehicle Association (MEHVA) operates tours to various destinations in their historic fleet. Here are some pictures from my first bus tour (For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of the outside of our bus, in all of its "Sunshine" paint schemed glory--Metro operated many white buses with brown, yellow, and ochre trim. For a photo of the exact bus, go here For more information on the bus tours, go here:
 I love the use of brown, and "wood" inside the bus. It's amazing how much more comfortable bus seats were when this bus was produced (1987), than they are now (2014). Now, the bus seats are harder, and their padding is thinner.

Here is the $40 typewriter I bought. The same shop was selling a pink Royal Quiet Deluxe for $500. Personally, I prefer the Futura 800's lines.  Out of the four Royal Futura 800s I have owned, two have been horrible. The other two have been perfect. (I sold the other one when its case went). The reason (I think) for the quality gap in the Futura is as follows: When Royal began making the Futura, they moved production of their portables from Hartford, Connecticut, to a brand-new factory in Sunshine, Missouri. They had to move all of their equipment to the new factory, and find new labor. The quality gap this creates is not specific to Royal. Another excellent example is the Continental portable: Wanderer-Werke originally made the Continental in Germany. They moved production to Belgium after World War Two, and quality suffered. However, Royal was able to fix the gap by September, 1960, when this typewriter was produced. By the time that they introduced the Safari (July/August, 1962), all of their full-size portables were of a consistent quality level. This level of quality somehow carried over to Portugal, when Litton outsourced it. (Say what you will about the plastic side panels that always seem to be bizarrely faded, mechanically, the Portuguese portables are just as good)
Interesting Side Note: If you look at the patent numbers on the underside of the ribbon cover on a Royal Custom II (or Sabre, or any full-size Royal Portable, including those made in Portugal), the newest patent number is for the Futura's design. (Even on the Safari, mainly because the ribbon cover is a shared component.) If you look at the side view of the Futura, and compare it to the side view of a Sabre/890/Custom II/Custom III/Custom IV/990/Sears Cutlass (the gold one), their lines are incredibly similar.

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